FBI ‘hopeful’ remains of more ‘Speed Freak’ victims will be found


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Federal investigators aren’t 100% certain they will find additional victims of the so-called Speed Freak Killers at the bottom of a San Joaquin County well, but one official said they were ‘hopeful’ remains would be found, to bring their families closure.

“We all remain hopeful that our efforts at this site will ultimately return the remains of victims to their loved ones but know that such is not a certainty,” Herbert H. Brown, special agent in charge of the Sacramento FBI office, said in a statement.


The well in the town of Linden — which is not far from a site that previously yielded the remains of four victims — may be as much as 50 feet deep, said Gina Swankie, an FBI spokeswoman in Sacramento. The excavation, announced Monday, is expected to take two weeks.

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The site is believed to be connected to a methamphetamine-fueled killing spree in the 1980s and ‘90s by Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog, who were thought to be high while committing their crimes, earning them the moniker Speed Freak Killers. Shermantine and Herzog were convicted of killing four people during their alleged 15-year, methamphetamine-fueled killing spree. Investigators believe the two may have killed as many as 19 people.

In January 2012, Shermantine, a death row inmate in San Quentin, led authorities to the Linden well. Herzog, who was on parole in Lassen County, committed suicide on Jan. 16, 2012, the same day he learned from a bounty hunter that Shermantine was speaking to investigators. The information that led authorities to the new site came from several sources, not just Shermantine, Swankie said.


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— Adolfo Flores